Any brand that finds itself at a competitive disadvantage can leapfrog its peers. But if you are the competitor in a distant also-ran position, you’re going to have to think and lead very differently. No matter your brand’s size, industry, or longevity, this process should work for you.
- Benchmark broadly using leading indicators. Don’t just measure yourself against your industry peers, but against the best of the best. If you want to improve your recruiting, go understand how Google recruits. If you want to improve your merchandising, look at what Nordstrom’s is doing. If you want to understand consumers and consumer behavior, study Starbucks or Warby-Parker. Benchmark against and learn from successful brands. Unfortunately, a lot of industries take a myopic view. “Those are not industrial products.” Who cares? We all have to compete for mind-share and wallet-share.
To benchmark, rely on leading indicators as close to real time insights as possible: sentiment analysis and social analytics. You need to really understanding how people feel about you, your efforts, and your brand at the time of their choosing and on the devices of their choice. I believe that “Progress trumps perfection.” Don’t spend six months building an analytic tool; move with whatever you have that can give you a sense of sentiment as demonstrated by current behavior. Surveys produce stale, lagging indications of results you created from your (often) distant past efforts.